Having a baby is an expensive business, you want to get the best for your baby but the best tends to be expensive.
Baby fashion is the worst. Like the catwalk models of Milan, Elphie requires an entirely new wardrobe every three months: her newborn wardrobe, her 0-3 month one, 3-6 months and so on. You might not bother with the newborn wardrobe as the internets say they grow out of it too quickly, but then Elphie was premmie so swamped in the 0-3 month baby grows so we had to order in more newborn baby grows, at which point the UK put on an uncharacteristic heatwave so she was just in a nappy and didn’t need any clothes and of course by the time the heat has died down, she’d grown out of exciting new outfits. Sad times.
Beyond learning from my cautionary tale, to avoid bankruptcy, these are my top tips for bargainous baby clothes:
By far and away my favourite source of baby clothes was FARA Kids, a charity shop dedicated to kids stuff with mainly clothes but also buggies, slings, moses baskets, bedding, toys and even maternity wear. All the stores I have been to have a chest of drawers somewhere with drawers of vests and baby grows for £1 each often from good brands and sometimes barely worn (presumably having suffered the same fate as some of our newborn clothes). I also purchased a moses basket stand and I know Cath bought a pretty baby sleeping bag from there. And it all goes to benefit orphaned and abandoned Romanian children so a bargain that also does good in the world – easing any guilt that may be felt about buying more hats than you could possibly need (realistically you will not need more than two, so the eight Elphie owns are probably overkill – some of them should probably return to the charity shop whence they came!).
Going Once, Going Twice
eBay is a great source of cheap baby stuff – it is always worth checking the price of big items on eBay before purchasing as sometimes the differential in price can push you towards getting it secondhand as was our experience when getting the baby gym and baby bouncer.
For clothes, the best approach is to get them in a bundle making sure they are from good brands and that you like the designs. If there are one or two you don’t like then exclude those from your totting up of how much you think the bundle is worth and if you win you can always give them to the likes of FARA!
It is easy to get caught up in the second hand market and forget the high street stores have their fair share of bargains. It is worth stockpiling during the sales as discounts of as much as 80% aren’t uncommon and I got some lovely stuff from Gap, JoJo Maman Bebe and Mothercare for a couple of quid during the sales.
Another top tip for buying new is buying in bulk. Often the high street stores create sets of clothes – these can work out super cheap on a per item basis. For instance, I am uber keen on the M&S ten piece starter set for £18 i.e. an average of £1.80 per item and in pretty star patterns, this was a must have!
If you are the arty type then you can create your own baby fashion line like Jocelyn did with some rather natty trousers.
Or you can cheat slightly like our friend Juliette did and skip trying to spin your own baby vests and instead get a packet of plain white vests or baby grows from a reputable store and augment them with your own design (e.g. some flowers, or if for someone of Fred’s geeky persuasion then a computer). Working from a high quality base such as plain white vests from somewhere like Next and adding a cool design, you can make something truly haute couture for your little fashionista.
Other avenues for bargains include Freecycle (Jocelyn’s sister getting buggies from freecycle and trading them in when a better one came up) and local classifieds, both of which can provide great bargains depending on the area you are in. Also NCT sales can provide a good hunting ground for bargains – there are lots of stalls with lots of clothes to haggle over, but I suspect you have to get there early to really strike gold and be prepared for a bun fight.
Of course if money is no object then there is always Baby Dior!